AN Australian exporter of luxury motor cruisers has identified Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand as its Asian growth markets. Queensland-based Riviera Marine International believes changing lifestyles in Southeast Asia represent the tip of the foreign earnings iceberg for Australian companies. The company, which exports 60 per cent of its production to North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Australasia, sees considerable market potential in countries where people are paying more attention to tourism and water-based leisure. Riviera has set a target for annual export earnings of more than A$20 million (about HK$103 million) during the next two years. The company's average production is 150 boats a year, ranging in size from 10 metres to 16 metres. It recently launched its new flagship, the Riviera 48, with a $4.5 million pre-construction commitment from six Australian and two New Zealand buyers. The Australian luxury boating market has been heavily hit in recent years through recessionary pressures and government taxes, which Riviera managing director Bill Barry-Cotter says is a sad indictment of federal bureaucracy. Riviera Marine is one of only two survivors - the other being Melbourne-based International Marine - in what was once a healthy domestic pleasure boat industry. ''Literally hundreds have been washed away through a domestic manufacturing climate that was simply too harsh for survival,'' said Mr Barry-Cotter. He said the Australian Government expected exporters to jump in at the deep end of international competition but had not given the same level of support that foreign governments gave their exporters. ''There never was a level playing field for local manufacturers, and Australian industry had the choice of remaining in a restrained domestic environment or improving production efficiencies to such levels that the industry could survive on the open market,'' he said. ''Riviera made that hard decision many years ago. It was always hard to overcome tariff barriers. ''We concentrated on improving further our production technologies and systems as well as enhancing good employee relations so that we could be producing an internationally competitive product despite tariff restrictions. ''A number of Southeast Asian governments support their domestic industry with tariff protection ranging from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of invoice value for their imports. This is a real challenge. ''By comparison, the Australian Government's phasing down of tariff protection at home makes it easy for overseas countries to export their boats and other products here. But this is something we have to live with and we do that by compensating measures.'' Mr Barry-Cotter said the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore had demonstrated a positive commitment to developing tourism in their regions and this would encourage manufacturers such as Riviera Marine to provide for this new market. ''Apart from some places such as Hong Kong, much of our Southeast Asian buyers are in virgin markets, but we see them as holding considerable potential,'' he said. Riviera's international business development consultant Rick Koziora said: ''Southeast Asia's new tourism infrastructure is not yet in place, but it is happening and without doubt the region is the sleeping giant in new trade opportunities.''